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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

October Nominations


Each member of the Newbery committee will submit three nominations to the chair sometime during the month of October, probably on or around October 15.  Each nomination is submitted with a brief written justification.  My strategy at this point is quite simple: I’m going to nominate the three best titles.  In no particular order. ERUPTION! by [...]

Scientists in the Field


As you well know, last year was an amazing year for nonfiction.  We had an unprecedented amount of depth and quality in the field, and while only one nonfiction book–BOMB–cracked the Newbery roster, I felt that several additional titles, namely MOONBIRD and TITANIC, were similarly worthy.  While the nonfiction field is much thinner this year, there are still [...]

The Year of Billy Miller (and Other Beginning Chapter Books)


It was the first day of second grade and Billy Miller was worried.  He was worried he wouldn’t be smart enough for the school year. There was a reason Billy was worried.  Two weeks earlier on their drive home from visiting Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills of South Dakota . . . While I [...]

Penny and Her Marble (and Other Easy Readers)


Aside from the comparative simplicity of the text and the interdependence of text and illustrations, the biggest problem the committee faces in evaluating easy readers for Newbery recognition is that most publishers simply do not submit them, leaving committee members to find–and champion–them on their own.  That’s easy to do when you have big names [...]

Doll Bones


Poppy set down one mermaid doll close to the stretch of asphalt road that represented the Blackest Sea. They were old—bought from Goodwill—with big shiny heads, different colored tails and frizzy hair. Then the mermaids waited for the boat to get closer, their silly plastic smiles hiding their lethal intentions. They’d crash the ship against [...]

The Thing About Luck


Kouun  is “good luck” in Japanese, and one year my family had none of it.  We were cursed with bad luck.  Bad luck chased us around, pointing her bony finger.  We got seven flat tires in six weeks.  I got malaria, one of fifteen hundred cases in the United States that year.  And my grandmother’s [...]

The Early Bird Gets the Worm


When MOON OVER MANIFEST won the Newbery Medal a couple of years back it took us by surprise.  The book had three starred reviews, but it was a debut novel published in October.  It definitely flew under our radar.  I enjoyed the book very much and looked forward to Vanderpool’s sophomore effort to see whether [...]

The Tip of the Iceberg

At the end of the last Heavy Medal season, Wendy announced– I’m now retiring from Newbery fandom. This was my fifth year, and I read more widely than ever before thanks to the great Seattle Public Library system that I’m now privy to (72 books that I considered eligible for the Newbery, plus a number of [...]

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice



So Long, Farewell . . .

IT’S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE As we wrap up another season of Heavy Medal, we’d like to thank all of our readers for their contributions.  It’s always hard to recognize only a small handful of books every year, but I always feel like we are able to celebrate many more worthy titles here, titles which [...]